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John Walker [3]

borndied
1781, May 291859, May 1
invented the friction match. Walker was born in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, on 1781. He went to the local grammar school and was afterwards apprenticed to Watson Alcock, the principal surgeon of the town serving him as an assistant. He had, however, an aversion to surgical operations, and had to leave the profession, turning instead to chemistry. After ...
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James Watt

borndied
1736, Jan 301819, Aug 25
a Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, and chemist who improved on Thomas Newcomen's 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1781, which was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world. While working as an instrument maker at the University of Glasgow, Watt bec...
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Cross-listed in Naval

Robert Wauchope [2]

borndied
17881862
a British admiral and inventor of the time ball. He joined the Royal Navy in 1802, was commissioned in 1808, and served in the Napoleonic wars, notably as a lieutenant in Captain Samuel Pym's disastrous attack on Mauritius in August 1810. After the destruction of his ship, the Magicienne, Wauchope set off in a cutter to Réunion, 140 miles away, to warn Comm...
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Ralph Wedgwood

borndied
17661837
an English inventor and member of the Wedgwood family of potters. His most notable invention was the earliest form of carbon paper, a method of creating duplicate paper documents, which he called "stylographic writer" or Noctograph. He obtained a patent for the invention in 1806.
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Thomas Wedgwood

borndied
1771, May 141805, Jul 10
most widely known as an early experimenter in the field of photography. He is the first person known to have thought of creating permanent pictures by capturing camera images on material coated with a light-sensitive chemical. His practical experiments yielded only shadow image photograms that were not light-fast, but his conceptual breakthrough and partial ...
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Charles Fredrick Weisenthal

bornactivedied
unknown1750sunknown
awarded the patent for the first known mechanical device for sewing in 1755. One might argue that he invented the sewing machine. He was born in Germany, but was in England at the time of invention. For his invention of a double pointed needle with an eye at one end, he received the British Patent No. 701 (1755), but after in 1830 Barthélemy Thimonnier rein...
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Cross-listed in WritersPhysicians

Horace Wells

borndied
1815, Jan 211848, Jan 24
an American dentist who pioneered the use of anesthesia in dentistry, specifically nitrous oxide (or laughing gas). At age 23, Wells published a booklet "An Essay on Teeth" in which he advocated for his ideas in preventive dentistry, particularly for the use of a toothbrush. In his booklet, he also described tooth development and oral diseases, where he ment...
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Cross-listed in Scientists

Charles Wheatstone

borndied
1802, Feb 61875, Oct 19
an English scientist and inventor of many scientific breakthroughs of the Victorian era, including the English concertina, the stereoscope (a device for displaying three-dimensional images), and the Playfair cipher (an encryption technique). However, Wheatstone is best known for his contributions in the development of the Wheatstone bridge, originally invent...
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Eli Whitney

bornactivedied
1765, Dec 81793-18251825, Jan 8
an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South. Whitney's invention made upland short cotton into a profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery in the United States. Despite the social and economic impact of...
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Simon Willard

borndied
1753, Apr 31848, Aug 30
a celebrated U.S. clockmaker. Among his many innovations and timekeeping improvements, Simon Willard is best known for inventing the eight-day patent timepiece that came to be known as the gallery or banjo clock. Immediately after arriving to Boston, Simon Willard developed a movable mechanism to turn meat on a spit, the roasting jack, which was specifically...
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Allen B. Wilson

borndied
18241888
an American inventor famous for designing, building and patenting some of the first successful sewing machines. He invented both the vibrating and the rotating shuttle designs which, in turns, dominated all home lockstitch sewing machines. With various partners in the 19th century he manufactured reliable sewing machines using the latter shuttle type.
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Jethro Wood

bornactivedied
1774, Mar 161810s1834
of Scipio, NY. He received two patents, one in 1814 and the other in 1819. His plow was cast iron and made in three parts so that a broken part could be replaced without purchasing a new plow. Wood enjoyed commercial success, but enjoyed little net profit as he had to spend the proceeds defending his patent from infringers.
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Walter B. Woodbury

borndied
1834, Jun 261885, Sep 5
an inventor and pioneering English photographer. He was one of the earliest photographers in Australia and the Dutch East Indies (now part of Indonesia). He also patented numerous inventions relating to various aspects of photography, his best-known innovation being the woodburytype photomechanical process. As a student of a civil engineer in Manchester he c...
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